Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Infrastructure Management blog shifting to Business Service Management blog

We are merging the Infrastructure management blog into the BSM blog to align with the way our customers think about IT monitoring.

HP Discover: Software keynote summary: innovation- Day 2

While the main stage presentations on Monday focused on high-level strategy, Tuesday’s keynotes were more tactical, showcasing innovations across the hardware and software portfolio. The thing that came together for me and many others I spoke to was how complementary the hardware and software presentations were. Both focused on solving one of the big challenges customers face today: how to deliver new business services more efficiently.

New Insight Operations Appliance simplifies IT management with all-in-one approach (podcast)

One of HP’s partners has addressed one of the biggest complaints I hear from IT Operations professionals - managing infrastructure is complex and virtualization makes the situation even more challenging. The new Insight Operations Appliance packages a consolidated IT infrastructure management solution onto a single HP DL160 server.

Infrastructure Management Today and post Data Center Transformation

Cost reduction drives 90% of data center transformation projects. There is a new HP blog that focuses on data center transformation. The first post discusses why now is the perfect storm for data center transformation. The most recent post discusses the key role software plays in a data center transformation..

OH, IL, WI, IN, MI Operations Center Technical Roadshow - April 20th to April 29th - Don't miss it!

Ever wish you could talk face-to-face with more technical people about Operations Center and Network Management Center products? Don’t really have the time or budget to travel very far to do so?  Well, here is a great opportunity to meet and talk with technical experts on products like Operations Manager and NNMi – right in your background.


Vivit will be hosting a series of six (6) one-day sessions, where there will be a nice mix between presentations and Q&A sessions around these products.  The sessions will be held in the following states on the following days:


- (Columbus) Ohio – April 20, 2010


- (Orrville) Ohio – April 21, 2010


- (Dearborn) Michigan – April 22, 2010


- Wisconsin – April 27, 2010


- (Chicago) Illinois – April 28, 2010


 - (Fishers) Indiana – April 29, 2010


Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about this roadshow at asksonja@hp.com.

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Learn how Independence Blue Cross reduced IT Operations costs

Join HP Software and Solutions for a live InformationWeek webcast with special guests Maryann Phillip, Director of Service Delivery at Independence Blue Cross (IBC), and Ken Herold, Practice Manager & Principal Architect with Melillo Consulting.


Hear first-hand how IBC is using HP Operations Center products like Operations Manager, Performance Manager, and DDM in addition to agentless and agent-based data collection to:



  • achieve profitable growth through enabling technologies

  • reduce costs by achieving a competitive cost structure

  • manage medical costs better -- through operational stability & improvements


Register today and learn how you can streamline and make YOUR processes more efficient.

HP and Microsoft join forces to simplify infrastructure management

If you have not been living under a rock, you probably have heard about the announcement that HP and Microsoft made to invest $250 million over the next three years to simplify technology environments. There is an HP-Microsoft partnership portal that includes the announcement along with videos of Mark Hurd and Steve Ballmer discussing its importance.


 


This very broad agreement spans hardware and software, both development and marketing, for products and services. In short, HP and Microsoft will collaborate on building the next generation cloud offering. The subheading of the press release says it all. “World’s largest technology company and No. 1 software provider plan to advance cloud computing with industry’s most integrated technology stack”


Many customers discuss the pains of integrating software from multiple vendors. In fact, an all-HP business technology optimization stack is one of our key selling points. But, the reality is that most organizations rely on Windows and other Microsoft applications, such as Exchange, SQL Server, and their HyperV virtualization platform. So, since heterogeneous management is reality, HP and Microsoft decided to join forces to make this process easier for our joint customers. The goal is to improve both IT efficiency along with improved application performance and availability.


In discussions I have had with customers, partners, and colleagues since the announcement, one question keeps coming up:
Q: Will HP continue to invest in OMW to manage Windows environments?
A: YES!


Let me clarify a few issues around this point.



  1. Customers can use any of our Operations Manager servers, running on Linux (OML), Windows (OMW), or UNIX (OMU) to manage infrastructure running Windows along with many other platforms. This applies whether the managed nodes are physical or virtual. The more complex the IT environment, the more value HP Operations Manager delivers by consolidating events into a single console.

  2. For customers using Microsoft System Center Operations Center (SCOM), they will be able, as they are today, to continue to use that to manage Windows environments and consolidate those events and others into Operations Manager. The joint investments will make the process even easier.

  3. Joint development will also make management of Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server even more effective on HP Operations Manager.


I look forward to engaging with my Microsoft counterparts to evolve the next generation infrastructure management platform and make our customers even more efficient at managing their complex, heterogeneous IT environments.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed @HPITOps http://twitter.com/HPITOps


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group on LinkedIn.

Virtualization Management - Only Part of the Consolidation Picture

Last week, I posted about VMware’s move toward becoming one of the major infrastructure management vendors.


Since then, there has been much dialog about virtualization and the vendors that provide management consoles for virtual servers and their physical counterparts.


Virtualization.info responded that it’s not a big leap for VMware to add support for 3rd party hypervisors.
Microsoft discussed their virtualization management offering in their blog.
Denise Dubie at Network World had a recent post about some new analytics capabilities that vendors are adding to their virtual management offerings.


What seems to be missing from all these discussions is how managing virtual servers is only a part of a comprehensive infrastructure management solution.


Here’s what I have been hearing (loud and clear) from our customers.




  • Infrastructure management needs to start with the end-user experience. The line of business managers to whom IT is accountable do not care about server performance or other IT metrics. They care about the availability of their business services. Any management solution must have a way to monitor service level agreements on this basis.


  • Virtualization is not an IT strategy on its own. It is generally part of broader data center consolidation initiative - an opportunity to reduce hardware, energy, and server management costs. All while improving the overall quality of service. So, talking about virtualization without the impact on the end user is just another IT-driven initiative (albeit one with potentially large and measurable cost savings).


  • Managing physical and virtual servers through a single set of instrumentation is the right approach (everyone seems to get this now). But, a comprehensive data center consolidation project needs to manage storage, networks, applications, and application component events through a single consolidated operations bridge.

Evaluate any infrastructure management vendor based on whether they can do all these things. Don’t just rely on a demo. Ask to speak to some customers running such a solution in production. Finally, have them create a proof of concept on your data.


Then, let’s talk about which vendors can manage heterogeneous environments.


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel

VMware: the Next Infrastructure Management Behemoth?

I read an interesting blog post on virtualization.info that discussed how “VMware is becoming an infrastructure management company.” It walks through all their recent acquisitions and how these may point to a long-term goal of a much larger market presence. This, combined with overall market trends (a customer I spoke to yesterday said their goal is 90%+ virtualization) could lead them to a very different position (mainstream rather than niche) in the infrastructure management market.


Our approach to virtualization is to treat virtual servers the same as physical ones. Our customers can use the exact same instrumentation to monitor the performance and availability of virtual and physical servers. HP’s infrastructure management software can manage any hypervisor (VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, etc.), any brand of hardware (HP and our competitors), and every major business application. Our customers can perform problem isolation and diagnostics across all these elements, which we tie together using a universal configuration management database (UCMDB).


We’ll see where all this goes. We certainly live in interesting times. What do you think VMware is up to?


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel



 

Making Infrastructure Management Less Taxing

I bought my copy of TurboTax over the weekend. While waiting in the long checkout line, it occurred to me that the United States tax code has several similarities to IT infrastructure management. Let me explain.


At the beginning, there was a needs assessment, planning process, growth forecast, and then implementation. When the system went live, everything was simple and all the pieces worked smoothly together. Over time, came growth, “enhancements,” complexity, and some unintended consequences. Current state of affairs: a mess. But at least we know the system’s idiosyncrasies or at least have processes in place to make everything work.


Quick, which am I talking about, your IT infrastructure of the tax code?


In a new datacenter, companies design in the management tools that will help them best meet their end-users’ needs and run the equipment to gain maximum efficiencies. Over time, requirements evolve (expand!) and new technologies such as virtualization proliferate. IT managers keep their environments current by adding new management tools, often with new software focused on the most recent infrastructure enhancement.


Modern datacenters include dedicated tools for their latest rack of blade servers that include environmental and power monitoring, software to dynamically move virtual machines from one physical server to another without the users even noticing, and monitoring consoles that give you metrics based on the actual performance your end-users experience.


But, even with all these innovations, it’s still really hard to keep track of all the moving parts in any IT infrastructure. So, periodically, companies undergo datacenter consolidations to streamline their operations, reduce the number of management tools, and make the whole process less taxing.


If you want help in simplifying the tax code, contact your local member of Congress.


If you want to simplify your IT infrastructure management, HP has a variety of solutions to help you. We’ll talk in depth about datacenter consolidation and server virtualization in future posts.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.

Does Virtualization Consolidate Your IT Operations Or Fragment Them?

Customers tell me constantly they are consolidating their tools sets to drive efficiency and reduce operating costs. They tell me they do not want hundreds of point tools that they have to integrate themselves. They tell me they want to spend more time working on strategic projects and less on keeping the lights on. They tell me that they have Virtualization projects that are following the same path as previous innovation projects. When is it going to stop?

 

The average IT organization spends 70-80% of their budget “keep the lights on” and not innovating. As a result, most IT organizations are looking for ways to reduce their IT operations costs so they can free up resources to work on more strategic business demands.

 

Most customers are modifying their cost structure through consolidation projects (Data Center Transformation). The goal for these consolidation projects is to eliminate redundancy and more importantly increase efficiency to avoid and minimize downtime.

 

There are many types of IT consolidation that can occur but the most common are organizational, and datacenter consolidations. In both cases virtualization is often one of the key enabling technologies deployed. Each of these projects usually kicks off an IT management tools re-evaluation.

 

Unfortunately as IT organizations invest in these projects they are often very disruptive and counter productive to IT initiatives focused on reducing operating costs. I believe it is due to the lack of planning on how to best manage the new technologies once deployed.

 

Virtualization promises to deliver significant hardware and software license cost savings and thus very attractive to companies trying to reduce capital expenses. What is not understood by most companies is the fact that every new technology deployed can be very disruptive to IT Operations goal of keeping the lights on and potentially increase operating expenses.

 

Virtualization is not alone. Think back when your organization first deployed new technologies like, PCs, Client Server, Web, ERP, SOA, etc. How disruptive was it? How long did it take to get the management technologies embedded into your IT Operations processes correctly? For most companies it was too long, which drove the need to consolidate the number of management vendors because it was too costly and inefficient to maintain multiple home grown integrations, event management systems, dashboards, and IT processes.

 

Most of the disruptions were because IT organizations do not know where or how to integrate the data received by the multiple tools deployed or where different organizational boundaries should lie. This is where HP Software and Solutions has helped thousands of customers over the past 15 years drive the cost out of IT operations through tools consolidation projects.

 

What disruptions have you encountered during your data center consolidation project? Or, how did careful planning avoid the pitfalls that trip up most IT professionals.

 

For HP Operations Center, Dennis Corning


 

Is Managing Virtual Servers Just Like Managing Physical Servers?

As I travel and speak with customers, partners and analysts firms, I keep hearing that ownership for virtualization management is fragmented within the IT organization. Some companies have even created a new role called the Virtualization Administrator. Why?

 

If virtual servers are just like the legacy “physical” or dedicated servers why is there such a fragmentation in monitoring responsibilities, tools and processes today? Haven’t we learned from previous technology innovation that when it comes to IT Operations, the sooner the monitoring tools and process are streamlined into the standard operating procedure the better?

 

Take a look inside your organization today. Are you fragmenting the monitoring and management of your Virtual Servers? Are you deploying point products to manage your Virtual Server farms separate from your physical servers? You know from previous projects the sooner you streamline the management tools into the process the more efficiently IT can keep the lights on while freeing up resources to execute more strategic projects.

 

So what do you need to successfully manage Virtual Servers, the applications running on them and the underlying network? The same tools you already use to manage these entities prior to virtualization (HP Operations Center, formerly OpenView), with some enhancements to monitor the virtual layer.

 

The enhancement comes in the form of a new HP Smart Plug In (SPIs) for Virtualization. This new SPI for Virtualization plugs into HP Operations Manager and delivers the following:



  • Uses a common methodology to monitor both Physical (dedicated) and Virtual Servers.

  • Monitors both performance and availability of VM host and guests independent of each other to provide current status

  • Automates the creation of baselines and setting thresholds to reduces configuration overhead

  • Auto-discovery and visualization of the virtualized environment—including the dependency between the ESX host system and each guest system and updates service navigator views

  • Provides a single console to simplify operation tasks. When a metric exceeds a defined threshold it alerts Operators and provides instructions for fixing the problem and/or launch corrective actions automatically or manually

  • Delivers comprehensive reporting on the short- and long-time behavior for a virtualized system.

The alternative is to use a native tool that came with your virtualization platform or buy a niche point product. Both approaches can be effective for the Virtualization Administration team but does it enable you to drive the cost out of IT Operations? My recommendation is to extend your HP Operations Center deployment to ensure you continue to optimize your cost structure.

 

Let me know why or why not centralizing your physical and virtual operations into a single console is right for you.


For HP Operations Center, Dennis Corning

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